x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

New year brings a new crop of motorcycles

Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, BMW and Ducatti are among those taking the wrappers off much anticipated models in 2011.

The Triumph Tiger 800 will come in two versions. Courtesy of Triumph
The Triumph Tiger 800 will come in two versions. Courtesy of Triumph

In what must be the longest gestation period since, well, the introduction of the BMW S1000RR it hopes to supplant atop the superbike field, Kawasaki will at last take the wrappers off its much-anticipated 2011 ZX-10R. Long the laggard in the 1,000cc segment, Kawasaki hopes to vault past both its Asian and its European competition with what it is claiming is the lightest litre-bike in the class. With its rumoured 170+ rear-wheel horsepower selectively pacified with traction control, Team Green is hoping the new ZX-10R puts them back on the podium in superbike championships around the globe.

Less powerful but perhaps even more interesting is the new Z1000SX Ninja. Essentially last year's Z1000 naked bike with a sleek sport touring fairing grafted on, the SX boasts 136hp and all-day comfort. The riding position is all but identical to the Z1000, which means it is roomy and expansive, yet the SX gets a host of sport bike goodies including adjustable suspension and four-piston radial front brakes.

On a completely different front, Honda is backing up its successful CBR125R with a fuel-injected, 249cc single cylinder version. Now styled to mimic the futuristic VFR1200, the CBR250R adds a big-bike feel to the beginner bike segment.

Yamaha is making big noise with its new Super Tenere, an adventure tourer aimed right at the heart of BMW's popular R1200GS. Its 1,199cc parallel twin engine features a unique 270-degree crankshaft orientation for a smoother torque delivery and electronic ride-by-wire throttle control. ABS and traction control are standard equipment and hard saddlebags are optional.

Suzuki is once again focusing on its GSX-R sport bikes with both the 600 and 750 getting a thorough redesign. Styling mimics the larger CSX-R1000 while both lose a substantial amount of weight. Both feature shorter wheelbases, Showa Big Piston front forks and lighter wheels.

It's hardly news that BMW is building a K1600 six-cylinder super-tourer, but we have a few more facts now. There will be two versions; the sport-touring GT and the full land-yacht GTL. Both are powered by a narrow-bore 1,649cc inline six. BMW claims 175Nm of torque and 160hp, more than enough to move even the 348kg GTL tourer with alacrity. BMW's trademark aluminum beam frame combines with its Duolever front and Paralever rear suspension systems and both the GT and GTL offer an industry first, an Adaptive Headlight that auto-levels even when the bike is leaned over for a turn.

And, like the GS and the RT, the R1200R switches over to the 110hp, double overhead camshaft version of the famed Boxer twin.

Triumph's new Tiger 800 adventure-tourer will show up in two-flavours, a regular version with street tyres and cast wheels and an XC version with more dirt-oriented 21-inch front wheel sporting a more off-road worthy knobby tyre. Both are powered by a 799cc, long-stroke version of the Daytona 675's inline triple. Claimed horsepower is 95 and the seat height is adjustable.

Ducati is taking the wraps off its new Diavel, the height of fashion for the power cruiser set. With a slightly detuned, 162hp version of Ducati's 1,198cc V-twin, the Diavel also weighs but 210kg, some 80 to 100kg less than its V-Rod and V-Max competitors. And, according to sources, Ducati has worked hard making the Diavel handle well despite riding on a wide 240mm rear tyre.

More sporting news from Italy comes in the form of an enhanced version of Aprilia's WSB-winning RSV4. New for 2011 is a system that includes traction control, an anti-wheelie device and a launch control making the Factory SE model's 180hp more manageable. Other Aprilia news includes a Dorsoduro 1200 supermotard with 130hp and optional traction control and ABS.

Moto Guzzi is updating the adventure-touring Stelvio, with the latest eight-valve version of its 1,151cc V-twin sporting 102hp. Other highlights include 50mm USD front forks and a wide protective fairing. Also powered by the new Quattro Valvole twin is the 2011 Norge, Moto Guzzi's luxury touring model.

Perhaps the most interesting news out of the Piaggio Group, however, is from the scooter division, which sees the introduction of a plug-in hybrid three-wheeler. The MP3 incorporates Piaggio's double-wheel front suspension as well as a parallel hybrid system that sees a 2.6kW electric motor supplement the 278cc petrol engine. Piaggio claims a range of 20km on electric power alone and claims that, in ideal conditions, the MP3 Hybrid will consume but 2.0/100km. Maybe, this green revolution has some legs.